I had the opportunity to attend a performance of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra Sunday in a special performance aimed at children. Donato Cabrera conducted. The young performers really did an outstanding job: tight if not quite soulful, they exceeded my expectations. The overall program was great fun - interactive, with clapping and singing. The main classical settings featured works by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, two wonderful Russian composers. The capstone was a story-narration by Linda Ronstadt set to Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, Opus 67. If you have children these performances strike me as a great way to develop a love of great music and are highly recommended.
Our family is planning to attend (and sponsor) at least one of three upcoming performances in the bay area of a selection of Russian choral music (for which I have more than a soft spot). The concert is called NEVER SETTING LIGHT: A Day of Sacred Song in the Russian Choral Tradition and includes "a capella selections from the services of a liturgical day -- from sunset to sunrise. The ancient lyrics are set to the music of Russian and American choral masters from the 18th century to the present, including 5 pieces by northern California composers."
Saturday, Feb. 20th Livermore - Asbury Methodist Church
Saturday, Feb 27th Oakland - Ascension Greek Cathedral
Sunday, Feb 28th Fremont - Mission San Jose
I expect these will be settings more traditional than, say, Rachmaninov's, Liturgy of St. John, but I am very much looking forward to these performances.